'He’s not going to die today': Doctor mum saves son's life on soccer field

Gina Agredano saved her son Jose's life when he suffered a heat attack after being hit in the chest by a soccer ball.
Gina Agredano saved her son Jose's life when he suffered a heat attack after being hit in the chest by a soccer ball. Photo: Gina Agredano

There must be times when it's quite handy to have a GP for a parent and Jose Agredano Jr discovered it was the difference between life and death for him this week after his mother saved his life on the field during a sporting match.

During his final soccer game of the season, 16-year-old midfielder Jose Jr suffered a heart attack after a ball struck him on the left side of his chest, causing an impact-induced cardiac arrest called commotio cordis. If not for the presence of his mum Gina in the stands, and her immediate application of CPR, Jose Jr. would not be here to tell the story.

Dr Gina Agredano ran to her son on the field with her husband Jose Sr after he noticed their son had collapsed. She observed him for several minutes before the boy stopped breathing. It was up to this point that she had been his mother there on the field. When he stopped breathing, the doctor kicked in and she performed three minutes of CPR until the defibrillator arrived, which succeeded in restarting his heart.

"I was feeling scared and frightened, and everything was surreal and my emotions were still there because I was his mother. He just stopped breathing, and that was when it was game on," she told Today. "I said to myself 'He's not going to die today. We're not going to die today.'"

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Photo: Gina Agredano

Dr. Kara Motonaga of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, who treated Jose Jr. said his mother's actions and the defibrillator saved his life, adding that every moment counts when dealing with commotio cordis. "An impact at the right time in the electrical cardiac cycle can create an abnormal heart rhythm that could be life threatening," she said, and that the heart needs to be restarted within a few minutes in order to have a positive outcome.

Luckily for Jose Jr. all his tests have come back normal and doctors don't think he will suffer any ongoing effects from his brush with death. He's keen to get back to his soccer playing - and is aiming to play soccer in college - despite his mother wanting to wrap him up in cotton wool. He says of the incident, "I was really happy to be alive, but kind of upset because I wanted to keep playing," so the news that his heart has fully recovered is a big relief for the teen.

His mum Gina might take a little longer to recover, however. Speaking to Today, Agredano said, "I wasn't ready to lose him. I think as a mother, it was the hardest thing I've had to do in my life."